MIT Joint Program on theScience and Policy of Global ChangeThe Economic Impacts of Climate Change:Evidence from Agricultural Profits andRandom Fluctuations of WeatherOlivier Deschenes and Michael GreenstoneReport No. 131January 2006
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The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change is an organization for research,independent policy analysis, and public education in global environmental change. It seeks to provide leadershipin understanding scientific, economic, and ecological aspects of this difficult issue, and combining them into policyassessments that serve the needs of ongoing national and international discussions. To this end, the Program bringstogether an interdisciplinary group from two established research centers at MIT: the Center for Global ChangeScience (CGCS) and the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR). These two centersbridge many key areas of the needed intellectual work, and additional essential areas are covered by other MITdepartments, by collaboration with the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biology Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole,and by short- and long-term visitors to the Program. The Program involves sponsorship and active participation byindustry, government, and non-profit organizations.To inform processes of policy development and implementation, climate change research needs to focus onimproving the prediction of those variables that are most relevant to economic, social, and environmental effects.In turn, the greenhouse gas and atmospheric aerosol assumptions underlying climate analysis need to be related tothe economic, technological, and political forces that drive emissions, and to the results of international agreementsand mitigation. Further, assessments of possible societal and ecosystem impacts, and analysis of mitigationstrategies, need to be based on realistic evaluation of the uncertainties of climate science.This report is one of a series intended to communicate research results and improve public understanding of climateissues, thereby contributing to informed debate about the climate issue, the uncertainties, and the economic andsocial implications of policy alternatives. Titles in the Report Series to date are listed on the inside back cover.Henry D. Jacoby and Ronald G. Prinn,Program Co-DirectorsFor more information, please contact the Joint Program OfficePostal Address:Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change77 Massachusetts AvenueMIT E40-428Cambridge MA 02139-4307 (USA)Location:One Amherst Street, CambridgeBuilding E40, Room 428Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyAccess:Phone: (617) 253-7492Fax: (617) 253-9845E-mail: glo balcha [email protected] t.eduWeb site: htt p://MIT.EDU/gl obalch ange/Printed on recycled paper